20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Business

Doing Business in a Small Town

20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Bistro, Boutique, or other Business.

There are many reasons people prefer small towns in addition to affordable housing, leaving behind the fast pace for more peaceful surroundings, and less traffic. If you are an entrepreneur, the cost of a start-up business can be less than a pricey city prime real estate location. Small-town living brings with it a slower pace with plenty of space to stretch your legs. Residents may also have more time due to less driving and practically no commute. What to do with that extra time? In small-town browsing, the local shops can be a regular recreational pastime.

Fresh flowers, specialty balloons, cards, and gifts.

20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Business
Flower Shop

This is a great business for creative fun-loving individuals with a flair for design. Everyone loves receiving a gift of flowers or balloons so this business can be very rewarding. The largest expense for a flower shop business is the cost of ordering flowers. You can expect a profit margin of 40 to 50% after the cost of flowers, vases, and other costs of goods sold. Other ongoing expenses include the cost to lease a space, employee wages, and vehicle expenses if delivery is offered.

Garden center, or seasonal seedling tent sales center.

20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Business
Garden Center

Every small town needs one. Cater to the slightly older, over thirty crowd who are more likely to garden in some form or another. This business is a great fit for someone passionate about plants and gardening with a down-to-earth personality. Starting a plant business is a simple process and they sell themselves. You can propagate seeds and cuttings on-site or off-site. A tent sales center provides you with options to sell when and where you want whereas a dedicated retail location makes you more accessible.

Health supplements and related specialty items.

Zen Ambiance is a Plus.

The world is your oyster here, as this industry grows daily. With 75% of Americans taking at least one dietary supplement daily, this can be a very profitable business. This percentage progressively increases so the potential for profit is significant. It can be more costly at the start-up than some businesses as a stand-alone venture. People are more health-conscious than ever. You can market to literally anyone. people trying to lose weight, improve brain function, or deal with specific nutritional deficiencies. There is a lot of competition so it is important to build direct relationships with customers using product personalization, product knowledge, and focus on the customer’s needs. Aromatherapy and other specialty items go well with this type of business.

Ice cream shop & other frozen treats, with side items.

20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Business
Yummy Ice Cream

What makes your ice cream special? Is it your flavor selections, the presentation, or a unique artisan recipe that only you have? Do you have a passion for ice cream? What is the current ice cream market in your area and what is your consumer base? Is your dream an ice cream shop or an ice cream truck? How much is your start-up budget? While operating costs may remain the same seasons can affect your customer base. Summers being the most profitable of course.

Fancy Coffee Bistro with specialty drinks, pastries, and donuts.

20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Business
Coffee Shop

 The specialty drink market is expected to grow 67% in the next few years. A coffee café bistro requires a central location for success. Visibility is key to success and allows you to start big or small. A nice addition to a coffee shop is specialty sandwiches, chips, including apples, bananas single item pricing (Saran wrapped) think cafeteria-style. You cannot order fresh piping hot coffee online and a nice setting with a social aspect can be appealing in a small town. Promote, promote, promote, and word will get around.

Barely Used – thrift shop items.

20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Business
Thrift Store

Thrift stores are always in demand in a small town. People are looking for old items that can be like new and conventional things that are unique. You can offer free pick-up of discarded items from the community, provide consignment services, or visit local garage sales and flea markets for merchandise. *Tip: Keep it clean and organized. Think window-shopping display areas without the window. Check out this inspirational mood board…..here.

More 20 Best Ideas for a Small -Town Business, New and Repurposed furniture.

Repurposed Furniture

This is a low-cost business you can start from home and expand to include other home goods in a resale shop. Buy cheap, upcycle with a new coat of paint or find a new purpose for that old piece of furniture and price for profit.

Locally Made Items, local artists, and craftsmen with consignment options.

Local Artists and Craftsmen

When looking for inventory, retailers should look for quality, style, function, and price. Choose items that provide good potential for profit. Work with craftsmen and artists who are professional, reliable, and respect your time. Some of your suppliers may want to sell wholesale to you while others might prefer a consignment option.

Toys, Collectibles, Books, Puzzles, and Hobby items.

Toys, Collectibles, Books, Hobbies

When looking for the 20 best ideas for a small-town business consider your community base, and statistics while doing your research. This business is a perfect fit for hobbyists who are passionate about their craft and willing to apply business research to make it profitable. Research suppliers, and buy low for profit. Stick with what you know and find your market. You can offer new specialty items, and collectibles with a combination of toys, books, puzzles, and hobby items for a diversity of products. Ask yourself what is my small community about.

More of the 20 Best Ideas For a Small-Town Business

20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Bistro, Boutique, or other Business for brainstorming your business venture.

Fresh Homegrown Produce, Flavored Oils, Jams, etc.

Home Grown Produce

Growing space is of course mandatory unless you have local sources for fresh produce. Check the laws in your state for the regulation of a farmers’ market. Your presentation of goods is key to your success and provide free samples if possible.

Pet Supplies and related pet items or full-blown feed store.

Pets and Pet Supplies

Pet-related supplies and product sales are on the rise. We cater to our pets like family and want the best for them. This is a very competitive business enterprise since you have to compete with online sales and big-box companies. Start by building a direct relationship with your customers and their pets. When you build that relationship you can provide product personalization, and product knowledge while focusing on the needs of your customer’s pets.

Microbrewery and/or Craft Beer depending on local regulations, space, and suppliers.


20 Best Ideas for a Small -Town Business includes craft beer and microbreweries. This can be a costly business during the start-up phase as you will need a large space, supplies, and equipment. Equipment includes kettles, boilers, kegs, cooling systems, storage tanks, fermentation tanks, filters, tubing, pipes, cleaning equipment, waste management systems, and canning, or bottling equipment. You must also obtain licensing, insurance, and legal services. SBA loans, investors, and local banks offer small business loans to help you get started. You will also need distributors for your product.

Perhaps you would prefer to be the distributor for other microbreweries which is a lower start-up cost. Either way craft beer is highly popular and the profits can be big if you are successful.

Upscale convenience store with a pizza kiosk.

Convenience Store with Pizza Kiosk

You are selling convenience so a complete up-to-date product line of popular items is essential. Carry some travel-size items to up the affordability factor and draw people in. You will need equipment, drink, and food vendors. Do not overlook the need for reliable employees. This is not a low-cost endeavor however the rewards can be very profitable. A pizza kiosk is a premium convenience especially if you do not have a pizzeria in your small town. Outside have a water refill and ice station open 24 hours for added convenience.

Holiday Shop, think of fresh Christmas trees, pumpkins, and decorations.

Holiday Business

This a great seasonal business and goes well with several of the previously listed businesses as an add-on. If you want a part-time or seasonal business this can be a very profitable enterprise. People are generous with their money during the holidays and you have what they want!

Specialty Foods and items.

Specialty Foods

This business works for the right location, preferably a well-traveled highway for visibility. Do the research on tourists traveling through your small town. If the customer base is there then this has the potential to be a profitable business. Think about what popular chains such as Bu-cee’s with or without gas service offer.

Car Wash

First, ask yourself what is your competition. Depending on the size of your town there may be a need for only one. The start-up cost can be significant but once up and running a self-service car wash can be a profitable enterprise.

Grocery Store

20 Best Ideas for a Small -Town Business
Grocery Store

A small mom-and-pop operation works best for a small town. A step up from convenience to a full line of products with fresh fruits and vegetables. Perhaps there is a space that has been previously used for this purpose. Again research your area’s needs, space requirements, and start-up costs.


A walk-in location with a counter and showcase for baked items will be needed unless you are starting from home. Research your area to make sure you find the right space if you choose to start with a walk-in location.

Food Truck or Restaurant

20 Best Ideas for a Small -Town Business
Food Truck

The truck or leased location will be one of your biggest expenses so negotiate this one well. Vision a theme for your food business. Find other businesses willing to let you park for a small fee.

Small Town Mall.

20 Best Ideas for a Small -Town Business
Small Town Mall

Incorporating all or part of the above businesses into a larger space (does not have to be an actual mall). *Tip: Generator backup if the area is prone to power outages and clean, adequate to exceptional bathrooms depending on location. This brings up the golden rule of any business- location – location – location. Consider free public internet. If loitering is a concern require a sign-on account for internet access along with a small one-time signup fee.

Give Them an Experience “They Will Not Forget”

20 Best Ideas for a Small -Town Business
Small Town Experience

Tips 20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Business are just the starting point. It’s not just your product but the “experience” you are selling especially in a small town rural setting where entertainment is limited. Start by asking what is your small town missing. What requires you to drive out of town to purchase or obtain? How can you provide these items in an entertaining fun environment? What experience can you provide that online shopping cannot provide?

Thinking outside the box of conventional settings can bring great rewards and allow you to enjoy your small-town environment while sharing the convenience of shopping locally. Get to know your community including the rural dwellers living around your small town. Provide a price range that will fit any budget. Do not forget the tourists traveling through your small town. Give them the best of the small-town experience that they will not soon forget. 

Start a Town Beautification Movement

20 Best Ideas for a Small-Town Business number one tip for small communities. Start a town beautification movement to up the charm scale of your hometown and use it to promote local businesses. There are so many prosperous opportunities available when we get past the confining thought of “that is just how things are done.” Be part of the solution to making your small town more resilient and economically prosperous. 

Small Town USA

Texas is a total of 267,339 square miles most of which is rural.  As Americans, it does not matter where in America your small town is located, rural living is worth preserving and sharing. Texas just has more to share than most states so let’s all do our part. We would love to hear from readers who have a small-town charm to share. What makes your small town special?

More about Texas flower wholesalers here………

More about Texas……

Open for Business in a Small Town

In Conclusion, 20 Best Ideas for a Small -Town Business

20 best ideas for a small town business is just a starting point. Do your research and find a reason for your community to shop locally.

15 Best Small Texas Towns to Live In here.

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How to start a business in a small town?

Starting your own business in a small town can be rewarding and gives you an opportunity to serve your community. But it’s also important to do your research and be prepared for the unique challenges associated with starting a business in a rural or remote area. Make sure you have access to the resources, funding, and support you need, and plan carefully to create the most successful venture possible.

What are some business ideas for a small town?

While certain types of businesses tend to be more successful in larger cities, there are plenty of ideas that can help your business take off in a small town. Consider offering custom apparel, home repair, and handyman services, event planning services, personal concierge services, specialty food services, meal delivery services, or painting classes.

Kay Keeton, Ed.

Editor in Chief, Kay Keeton - Texas Lifestyle Expert. Kay is a designer turned author, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth-generation Texan, Kay is both an authority as well as being passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle. Kay is a content writer and editor of content for various local and national online publications.

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